Winter is finaly here big time!!!

Note: considering that I live in Holland, then yes this is exceptional winter weather that did not happen for well over two decades! An extremely high air pressure system above the whole of Scandinavia is pretty unique believe me! And I do know that this weather is pretty normal in many countries around the world, but not where we live! And we applaud this weather because we are an ice skating nation! There is even hopeful talk that the world-famous 11-city tour a 220 kilometres long nature ice skating tour finally can be staged again after more than 2 decades! So yes this is extreme weather for us here!

Yesterday’s weather forecast of at least a week-long snow and very cold weather was not wrong for a change and I have today’s picture to prove it! I woke up this morning to discover a magical snow-covered garden that I would love to share with you all!

Below: under need, this thick layer of snow more than 20 shohin pre-Bonsai Itoigawa Junipers are hidden!

Below: For some of the bigger Bonsai in my collection, there was no more room underneath my backyard shelter! But I am sure they don’t mind at all!

Below: My big Larch named the Elephant looks like a real scene you could see in nature.

Below: My big old Chamaecyparis obtusa nana gracilis mother plant looks beautiful!

Below: But her backside looks even more stunning!

Below: A magical top view of my big multiple-trunk beech raft.

I hope you enjoyed these with my cell phone-made pictures as much as I loved to make them for you all…it was magical in my little city garden today!

Cheers, and stay safe everybody!

Hans van Meer.

Update pictures of my windswept Yamadori Taxus.

First a short recap/history: It was discovered and collected by me during my visit to the U.K in November 2007. It was growing from underneath a large flat-like bolder that itself was covered by several smaller ones!


Below: After some hard work finally freed from its crushing heavy load!

Below: Spring 2010. After a scary time when it lost most of its foliage, it fought back with a lot of strong-growing new branches! I saw such beautiful movement and story in that long broken thick branch that protrudes to the right from the base of the trunk. But I basically had to rebuild her a completely new frame from her bottom upwards! With all-new branches on and in my eyes a very promising live base for something daring?! But such a change to create a vision you have from your inspiring living entity doesn’t come too often when you live in an almost Yamadori-less country like Holland! So, of course, I went for it!

Below: An hour later in its new pot with plenty of room to grow fast producing lots of growth on the fast-thickening branches!

Below: 24-4-2016. After 6 years of heavy feeding and free growing, it is time for branch selection and foliage thinning. All this time I was thinking a lot about how to utilise that long almost ripped-off to the right protruding Jin in my design!

Below: One hour and one full garbage back with cut-off branches later, this is all that was left of the 6 years of growth! The new top truck section went during this time from pinky thick to wrist-thick…amazing!

Below: This is how she looks after all the unusable branches were removed!

Below: 17-9-2020. And this is how she looks today. A windswept Yew. Besides some guidewires, there is not much wire on it at this moment. The future plan is that in just a few more years it will look like a Yew that is bettered by seasonal winds and storms from the left behind. The direction of the deadwood and protruding long Jin is proof of just how fears and devastating these winds are! In the near future when all the now still young branches are more mature and a bit fuller with small foliage, the outline of the foliage pads and the total outline image will be much clearer! But no way with perfectly triangle-shaped foliage peds on exuberant bright deadwood as we see so often these days! Nothing wrong with that, don’t get me wrong! But with limited and precious time on my hand…why should I do what so many others have done before? I wanted to create my expression of strong wind through a struggling but surviving tree! And it happens to be this Yew with that long Jin that started the thought of that idea again in my head! Funny how those things go?! And now the hunt for a special rectangular pot has begun and the next couple of years will be spent on filling and refining all the smaller foliage and deadwood. Height: 65cm/26 inch.


I hope you like it?!

Cheers, and stay safe everybody!

Hans van Meer.

Pictures of my Bonsai at the “DESHIMA” bonsai studio ”New Year” show.

Pictures of my 2 Bonsai at “DESHIMA” Bonsai Studio New Years’ show.
On the 4th of January, it was early out of bed to make it in time to bring in my 2 Bonsai for the annual Deshima Bonsai Studio “Winter Bonsai Show”! I was there just after 9 so that gave me plenty of time to carry everything inside and to really enjoy the build-up of my 2 Bonsai composition!

Teunis Jan’s huge outdoor glass greenhouse transformed into an amazing Bonsai exhibition space! The level of the Bonsai on display was heartwarming and I was proud to show my 2 trees among them!
My little Blackthorn: Prunus spinosa.
Because it was an “out of the box” winter presentation I used this little hand-carved wooden bird, some pinecones and seeds to enhance that wintery feeling!
And this is the whole composition with my Hawthorn (crataegus monogyna). The pictures are taken with a mobile phone so sorry for the quality…I had forgotten to put my SD card in my Camera (SIGH!)
Thanks, Ramon!

On behalf of all the visitors and participants, I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers and Teunis Jan Klein for making this all possible again! And the demonstrators: Bert Verstappen, Gerry Verstering and Ruben Bouwmeester who did such a great job! It was a truly fantastic event to get the new Bonsai year started just right!
Happy New Year everybody!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

Preparing my little Prunus spinosa for the Deshima Bonsai Studio New years Bonsai exhibition.

My Little Prunus spinosa will be shown together with my Hawthorn in one composition. It’s show ready and pretty unique because it is still covered with its summer bleu berries! Normally they would have been long eaten by birds, but my garden is covered with netting so they are still on there and the contrast between the bare black branches and bark and the grey American pot is simply amazing! The only thing that was still missing to complete the whole picture was nice moss on the soil surface and I know just the place to collect it! Just a 5 minutes walk away from our house there are meters-high and kilometres-long dykes to keep out the sea and on the rocks and boulders that make up this dyke, there are growing two perfect kinds of moss!

Miles and miles of endless dykes that protect the people that live in the lowlands meters below sea level called “The Netherlands” or like we say “Holland”!
Here grow just the perfect mos for Bonsai! It is not too thick/high and stays good for years and years!
Everything is ready to start the fun work of puzzling the pieces of moss together into a natural-looking carpet!
Make sure that the soil and moss are moist so that they will stick to the surface!
The moss with tinny stems with tinny seed pots on top is placed to the left and right behind the base of the Bonsai near the back of the pot. This creates a sense of depth, especially in pictures!

I am really happy with the outcome and how she looks! Now I still have to select a company plant and search among my several wooden handmade Tanzaku holders for the best one! And then go through my collection of Tanzaku (small paintings on paper or silk) for a nice wintery painting to complete the whole composition…but that is for tomorrow! I love this part of the Bonsai hobby! I will post some pictures right after the show so watch this space!

Happy New Year everybody!

Hans van Meer.

Preparing my little Hawthorn for the “Deshima Bonsai Studio” New years Bonsai exhibition.

I spend this cold afternoon preparing my little Hawthorn for the upcoming annual New Years Show at my dear old Bonsai friend Teunis Jan Klein “DESHIMA” Bonsai Studio in Nieuwerkerk a /d IJssel (Holland). This is a fun day where we not only all enjoy the Bonsai exhibition and Teunis his amazing store and the Bonsai for sale, but also the chance to wish each other the best wishes for the New Year while enjoying good food and lots of drinks!

Because of the swelling of the root mass in the pot, I had to remove the bulging top layer of the soil in most places and therefore had to renew the layer of mos! With a soft brush, the beautiful old bark was cleaned and freed from moss. And then all the little branches that grew in the wrong places or the wrong direction were cut away, giving it a cleaner look! And then there was no more daylight left to clean the pot, so it was time to put my tools away and warm my bones inside because it has been no warmer than 2 degrees in the sun today! Tomorrow I will prepare my little Prunus spinosa which is shown in a setup with my Hawthorn! So watch this space!
Cheers and HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!
Hans van Meer.

My video of the “Bonsai from the West” event is posted on YouTube!!!

Hi everybody,

I just posted on YouTube the short video that I shot last weekend at the 12th edition of the “Bonsai from the West” event that was staged as always in the middle of the beautiful Botanical garden in Delft (the Netherlands). This yearly event revolves around the care and presentation of Bonsai. The goal is to inspire and motivate Bonsaïsts and to introduce a broad public to this unique hobby. In addition to the Bonsai exhibition, there were various activities, including Bonsai demonstrations and workshops, taichi, shinkendo, ikebana and a large Bonsai market where everything that has to do with Bonsai could be purchased! The Bonsai on display are from several Bonsai clubs and professionals from the Western part of Holland (the Netherlands) and they are challenged to come up with new and innovative ways to exhibit their Bonsai! And I must say that they all did a great job and that the overall show gets better and better each year! And I can’t wait until next year’s 13th edition of this fun event…when I will be demonstrating there! P.S. two more long videos f my trip and demo and workshop in Slovenia and of the exciting “Kei Bonsai Kai” monster event in Gent Belgium!!! So watch this space for that!!! Then I will start to repost here the 10 years of posts that I managed to save from my old blog that was removed without warning suddenly from the web! Such a lot to do and so little time to do it! 😉 

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

WORKSHOP AT MY FIRST BONSAI CLUB “KOYA”. WORKSHOP BIJ MIJN EERSTE BONSAI CLUB “KOYA”.

Hi everybody,

here are some pictures and the text from the workshop that I gave on the 28 of April at my first Bonsai club “KOYA”.  Text by: G. Schwagermann.

 It took some surging to find the temporary location of the “Lijm en Cultuur” (glue and culture) building in Delft. But how nice it was that this old building is not yet demolished so that we all could enjoy Hans van Meer’s workshop in this “ART DECO” ambience. The workshop was fully booked with 10 Koya members, jong and old, beginners and advanced but above all, a group focused to learn. Dan Snipes did a short introduction that was followed by Hans presenting himself,  he started once upon a time at Koya and now he is an internationally asked Bonsai teacher. Who is, as he said himself: now “back on base”. All trees that were brought in were discussed at length, with in between a lively discussion about the phenomena that brought us all together: Bonsai! After that, it was time to start working on the trees. Hans did his rounds and helped with advice and hands-on action, also there started a spontaneous interaction between different members, typical Koya! It was an instructive and entertaining afternoon that brought us a bit closer to the charm of Bonsai. Koya thanks you, Hans for participating in this workshop. 

G. Schwagermann

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Workshop Hans van Meer
Delft, 28 april 2018

Het was even zoeken naar de locatie van Lijm en Cultuur aan de Rotterdamseweg 272 in Delft.
Maar wat fijn dat ze dit oude gebouw (nog) niet gesloopt hebben zodat wij nu in een sfeer van “Art-deco” de workshop van Hans van Meer mochten ervaren. De workshop was volgeboekt met 10 Koyanen, jong en oud, beginners en gevorderden maar bovenal een enthousiaste groep gefocust om te leren.
Dan Snipes gaf een korte inleiding waarna Hans zich presenteerde, ooit begonnen bij Koya en nu een internationaal gevraagde bonsaimeester.
Nu, zoals hij zelf zei “terug op honk”!
Alle bomen werden met aandacht van de hele groep uitvoerig besproken met daar tussendoor een levendige discussie over het fenomeen wat ons samen brengt: Bonsai.
Daarna was de tijd gekomen om aan de bomen te gaan werken. Hans deed de ronde en gaf raad en daad, ook ontstond er een spontane samenwerking van de leden, Koya eigen?
Het was een leerzame en onderhoudende dag en zijn we weer een stukje dichterbij de bekoring van Bonsai.
Hans bedankt, Koya bedankt voor het ter beschikking stellen van deelname hieraan.

G. Schwagermann

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Below: every single Bonsai is discussed with the owner and the rest of the group. Their plans, ideas, options, health, techniques, timing etc.  

Below: many different varieties and styles are on offer and that is always a nice challenge, very interesting and informative for the students and me!

Below: some trees offer a real challenge.

Below: after the talk and discussions of all trees it is time to work.

Below: explaining and helping with an approach root craft to improve the Nebari (root base).

It was a fun day working together with the members of the Bonsai club where I once started my now 28 years old Bonsai adventure and I hope that we will do more of these in the future! Thanks, Koya for this article and the pictures it is highly appreciated!

Next up is my trip to Slovenia for a demo and a workshop and a lot of hiking and site seeing with my good friend Roland! So watch this space!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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Breathtakingly spectacular Sierra junipers post by JONAS DUPUICH (US) on his amazing BONSAI TONIGHT website!

Hi everybody,

Here is again a link to a post by Jonas Dupuich on his great educational BONSAI TONIGHT website!!! This time it is a link to his post about his trip to the Sierra Nevada desert where he made some of the most breathtaking pictures of some of the most beautiful trees in existence!!! I discovered this post in the middle of the night and I was literally blown away for a while and moved emotionally by what he had captured so well in his pictures!!! These ancient trees full of unbelievable deadwood are so humbling and exemplary of what we want to create in our Bonsai!!! So I had to reblog the link here so that everybody could enjoy them! I hope you all are impressed by them as I am…I can’t stop looking at them and shake my head in amazement!!! And there are much more articles and pictures to find on his amazing blog so do go and have a long look!!!

Bellow: Jonas Dupuich the author and photographer of the article on one of the mind-boggling Sierra junipers in his amazing article that you must see on his BONSAI TONIGHT website and blog!!!

Juniper

Cheers, 

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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THE SIGHTSEEING PICTURES OF MY VISIT TO BEAUTIFUL SLOVENIA.

Hi everybody,

as promised here are the sightseeing pictures that I made last weekend when I visited beautiful Slovenia for my workshop at Tomaz Kovsca International Bonsai School “TORA”. All pictures are made with a 20-year-old low-pixel camera so they are not up to the level of my usual photos…but I still hope you enjoy the images of the sometimes breathtaking nature and old villages?! That I had brought along this old one with me turned out to be a good idea, because I fell down twice on the very steep mountainside where I shot the first pictures that I am about to show you! 😎

 These first pictures are made in the very old village Škofja Loka, which was first mentioned in 973 A.D.

Below: views from the bridge over which you enter the ancient village.

Below: very old preserved wall paintings everywhere and a beautiful old tree. And on the right bottom: a not-so-old Tomaz! 🙂

Below: our first mountain stop with beautiful scenery just before it started to rain.

Below: A stunning example of a real-size Literati Sylvestris Pine!

Below: And a real-life example of how we should shape our branches on a Literati Bonsai!

Below: Through the branches of this ancient Linden tree you can just make out that at the end of this winding path on the top of this hill lies a church! It is named Sv. Primož in Felicijan at Jamnik (Saints Primus and Felician) dates from 1501. Tomaz told me that in the olden days people (even Christians) worshipped Linden trees…that makes this a very old tree! It was very spiritual to walk up this path in the footsteps of so many that went before me!

Below: it must have taken many centuries for these two branches in love to reach each other, but now they are looked into their kiss forever!

Below: only a good friend could capture a moment like this in this way!

Below: are views from that top.

Below: is one of the many emerald-green rivers that we came across during our trip!

Below: The beautiful Lake Bohinj is unlike the more famous Lake Bled unspoiled by hotels, bars and mass tourism! It was breathtakingly beautiful and it charged us for the upcoming workshop that afternoon!

I hope you all enjoyed this little impression of just a few hours of driving through this beautiful country?! I can’t wait to revisit it next May to see more amazing places and spend more time with some of the friendliest folks I have ever met!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

Info: karamottobonsai@hotmail.com

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